In general, any cookware that contains enough iron atoms to be magnetic will work well with induction—meaning yes to cast iron pans and most stainless steel pots, no to aluminum and ceramic. But even then, there are terms like “triply,” “multiclad,” and “hard-anodized” messing with everything, adding cores of this and flecks of that, and making it difficult to know exactly what works with induction and what won’t. If you’re shopping online, carrying around a magnet to test the bottoms of pans won’t do you any good, either.
To help you make the most of your induction range or cooktop, we sorted through our top cookware sets of 2018 and determined which are induction compatible—meaning each part of the set can evenly conduct electromagnetic energy and sit flush against a flat cooktop. Conveniently, our favorite overall set of any type, the Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set(available at Amazon for $197.21), is fully induction compatible, offering incredible performance at a great value.
In our original testing, we selected sets that contained everything you’d need for a starter kitchen or an upgrade purchase. Specifically, we looked for something that provided a good value for the price and performed well enough as stand-alone items. After hours of testing, we found a few we liked (including some under $200 that we would recommend without hesitation).
Here are the best cookware sets for induction, in order:
Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
Tramontina 12-Piece Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set
Cuisinart MCP-12N Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
The Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set is regularly on sale for just above $200, and you should definitely snatch one up if you see it hovering around that price. In the past five years, the price has consistently been under $300, down from its MSRP of $670. The set offers incredible performance at a great value. We had no complaints with the medium-sized sauté pan (which not only comfortably fit four chicken thighs but also seared each one to perfection). The large stockpot is well-sized for making soup, cooking pasta, or blanching vegetables.
In addition to performance, these pans are easy to use. The triple-ply construction gave the pans the benefit of heat conductivity, even on induction, but the aluminum core ensures they’re not too heavy to handle. The set includes everything you need to cook a meal: two saucepans (1 1/2- and 3-quart), an 8-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3.5-quart sauté pan, two skillets (8- and 10-inch), and a steamer insert—all with comfortable handles and a design that creates a nice balance when holding the pan.
All in all, it was easy to name the Cuisinart as our Best Overall cookware set—and our favorite cookware set for induction. It has everything you need for a starter kitchen and it’s a great choice for those looking to upgrade their old sets, too.
Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
Each pan in the Circulon Symmetry Black 11-Piece Cookware Set has raised, concentric circles on the nonstick surface. While I couldn’t tell you the history of these ridges or how they became a Circulon signature trait, I can tell you that they definitely work to keep food from sticking to the pan! In addition to acing the nonstick tests, the Circulon pans performed well overall (except that the tall-and-skinny stockpot design took the longest in the group to boil water). These were some of the more comfortable pans we used, with well-thought-out, padded handles and nicely-balanced weight.
The nonstick set has a nice variety of items, including three saucepans (1-, 2- and 3-quart), an 8-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (8.5- and 10-inch). Despite their hard-anodized aluminum sides and surface, each product in the set has a stainless steel base, making them fully induction compatible—a rarity for nonstick.
Hi, I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and dinner party enthusiast. I’m the type of person that uses every single pot and pan in the house when I’m cooking dinner (and, I’ll probably dirty up all the tasting spoons and mise en place bowls, too). So, I definitely understand the importance of having the right set of pots and pans to get the job done! It wasn’t easy testing all these cookware sets (and my house was quite cluttered for a few weeks), but it was well worth it to help you find the best cookware set for the value.
After selecting 10 top-rated cookware sets (half stainless steel and half nonstick), we decided to cook a multi-component meal using each set. To function for everyday life, the pots and pans had to be sized appropriately to cook dinner for one, but we also wanted to know if you could easily cook a larger dinner (like Thanksgiving) using the set. To earn our seal of approval, at least two saucepans, one sauté pan, and a stockpot had to fit on a standard cooktop range at the same time.
Keeping that in mind, we designed the tests to evaluate performance, ease of use, and value. We seared chicken thighs in the sauté pan, tossed vegetables in the skillets, simmered sauces and cooked rice in the saucepots, and blanched vegetables in the stockpot. If the set came with nonstick gear, we fried a few eggs without oil to see how well the coating worked. Finally, we measured any noticeable hotspots and maybe did a little taste testing to see if one set made a tastier meal than the others. In the end, none of the sets completely failed but we did have a few favorites.
Things to Know When Buying a Cookware Set
Although I wish it weren’t true, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pot or pan. Each cooking task requires a specific size. For example, you wouldn’t want to boil pasta in the small, 1-quart pot you cook tomato sauce in because it won’t all fit. And, it certainly wouldn’t make sense to cook up 1-cup of oatmeal in a large, 8-quart pot. (For those of you who opted out of culinary math: 1 quart = 4 cups)
So, cookware sets try to anticipate your needs by providing small, medium, and large pots and pans. Before you jump into a set, consider your cooking style: Do you usually cook for one or for a crowd? The former means you can opt for smaller cookware. Do you cook mostly soups and sauces, or are you a fan of scrambles, stir-fries, and pasta? The answer determines whether you want a selection of saucepots or if having a large skillet is more important in your set.
In the end, it’s best to look for a set that has at least two small saucepots, one large stockpot, a small egg pan, and a larger skillet or sauté pan. Anything extra, I consider a bonus! Most sets come with a lid for every saucepan, stockpot, and sauté pan. Sets count these lids as extra pieces to increase the count, so the above set would have five pots and pans but will be called an 8-piece set. While we’re on the topic, try to look for metal lids. Yes, that means you can’t see what’s going on inside the pot, but those glass lids always fog up anyway! The metal lids will never drop and shatter, giving them a longer lifespan than the glass variety.
A Note on Nonstick and Induction
While nonstick is easy to cook on and even easier to clean, there’s only one nonstick cookware set on this list at the moment. Why’s that? Because the majority of nonstick pans are made of aluminum, a non-magnetic material that won’t work with induction. Our first and only choice for nonstick cookware with induction is the Circulon Symmetry Hard-Anodized Set because it has a stainless steel base that makes it induction compatible. “Hard-anodized” has nothing to do with induction—anodization is just a process done to aluminum to make it harder, more durable, and nonstick without the addition of coatings like Teflon.
In the end, stainless steel products are better for searing meat, leaving behind those delicious fond bits that make the perfect start to a pan sauce. They also tend to last longer than nonstick varieties, which can be easily scratched and generally can’t go into the dishwasher. But if you’re eager to get an entire set of nonstick cookware for your induction range, Circulon is the way to go. We may directly test more induction-compatible nonstick sets in the future and will update this guide when we do.
Other Cookware Sets We Tested
Tramontina 80116/249DS Tri-Ply 12-Piece Cookware Set
If you regularly make large amounts of soup or stock, you may want to consider the Tramontina 12-Piece Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set. It’s the only set that came with a 12-quart stockpot—a bit overkill for boiling pasta or blanching vegetables, but perfect for larger batch recipes. The wide handles were comfortable to hold and the tri-ply construction provided even heating, from browning chicken breasts to cooking sauces without scorching.
You’ll get some larger-sized pots and pans with this set for a great price (so, if you’re looking for small 1-quart saucepans, this isn’t the one for you). The roomier pans are nice, giving you more space to cook larger quantities while still fitting on a standard range top. You’ll find two saucepots (3- and 5-quart), two stockpots (5- and 12-quart), a large 5-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (10- and 12-inch) in the set.
All-Clad BD005710-R D5 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
All-Clad is well known for making top-of-the-line (and, expensive) cookware. This All-Clad BD005710-R D5 Brushed 18/10 Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded 10-Piece Cookware Set is no exception. While there’s no denying the superior heat distribution and overall performance of these 5-ply, bonded stainless-steel pans, there were a few things that caused them to fall down in the ranks. First, the very hefty price tag is hard to swallow, especially considering that the heavy material makes it harder to flip vegetables or pour out the contents with ease. The straight-handle design doesn’t help in that regard, throwing off the balance and causing you to really feel the weight of each pan.
That being said, if you’re willing to dish out the coin (or, have a wedding registry in the near future), these pots and pans will last a lifetime. The set comes with two saucepots (1.5- and 3-quart), an 8-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (8- and 10-inch).
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you avoid the Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set, but you will certainly get what you pay for. These pots and pans were super-lightweight, heating up quickly but also losing that heat equally as fast. The handles were some of the hottest to the touch, too, so make sure you have those oven mitts handy!
We were also a bit disappointed in the contents, too. It lacked any skillets, providing one 10-inch sauté pan instead. It did include four saucepots—for some reason providing two 1.5-quart pots along with a 2- and 3-quart pot. The 5.5-quart stockpot was a little on the small end, too, but functional.
Cassidy covers all things cooking as the kitchen editor or Reviewed. An experimental home chef with a healthy distrust of recipes, Cassidy lives by the "Ratatouille" philosophy that, with a few techniques and key tools, anyone can cook. Since joining Reviewed in mid-2018, she's produced in-depth reviews and guides on everything from meal kits to stand mixers and the right way to cook an egg.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.